Some may see publicans as modern day alternatives to priests, but for one Scottish landlord this is literally the case.

 

Normally it is old churches being converted into pubs but the Crask Inn in Sutherland, Scottish Highlands has done things the other way and was recently officially blessed. It will now offer daily prayers alongside a pint with services held by visiting priests twice a month.

The pub was given to the Scottish Episcopal Church last year by the previous owners after 'many messages from the Lord', and is now being run by Douglas Campbell, a minister, and his wife Denise, both of whom have no previous experience in the pub trade.

The pub has existed as an inn since the early 1800s and is a popular venue for walkers and cyclists. It also has four guest bedrooms and will continue to operate as a bed & breakfast with training days for clergy and other church leaders.

Douglas is a personal assistant to the Reverend Mark Strange, a bishop, and the man responsible for blessing the pub. He said that he is 'quite happy' to be a part-time barman, although 'ultimately God is our landlord'.

Despite the new owners' background in the church, they are both eager to keep the inn going as a hospitality and meeting venue.

Denise told The Scotsman: "It's all very exciting. I think the spiritual and religious aspect will increase but I don't think the hospitality side of things will decrease.

"The inn side will continue because it's very important for hospitality and meeting people.

"I don't think a day goes by without someone coming in."

The pub is the first in Scotland to be owned by the church. In England, The Mitre in Norwich is owned by an adjacent church, but it does not hold services, and instead is a community centre, bar and café.